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December 23, 2019
Naomi Dank at Beck Institute's office in Bala Cynwyd.

Over the past 25 years, Beck Institute has continued to innovate and grow to reflect the field of CBT. The progress of our organization owes a great deal to the strong foundation built by our first Executive Director, Naomi Dank. We are sorry to report that Naomi passed away at the age of 95 on December 1, 2019.

Many in our community remember Naomi fondly. She was a lifelong advocate for mental health. Before helping to establish Beck Institute, she founded the Montgomery County Emergency Services Unit, the first diversion program in the country, to which people with mental health difficulties were taken for psychiatric assessment and treatment instead of to jail.  

We would like to share gratitude for and memories of Naomi here:

“We are so grateful to Naomi. We wouldn’t be where we are today without her. She had such a broad, positive impact on every facet of the Beck Institute. She helped every person on the staff grow professionally and personally. We will miss her!”

Beck Institute President, Judith S. Beck

“I first met Naomi at the close of my first year of my post-doc with Dr. Aaron Beck. She introduced herself as Dr. Beck's tennis partner, but I discovered she was a lot more …
Two years into her tenure as Executive Director of Beck Institute, Naomi offered me a job … and became my greatest champion, coach, and confidant. She cared for and looked after all of us. She counseled us in our professional and personal lives. She even provided advice and counsel for members of my family. And she affectionately called me "My Norman" or "My right arm". At the end of a particularly challenging day, I'd ask her how she was. Her humorous reply, "You don't want to know!" or "Can I go home now?"
She would speak glowingly of her love for her daughters, her grandsons, her life. She spoke especially of her love for "My Milton", a brilliant and unbreakable connection with a brilliant and unbreakable man. And I saw in her an unmatched love of life, of knowledge and growth, of service and contribution. I may not know the half of it! Still, the memories are more than sufficient, and the life lessons she conveyed are more than magnificent!”

Beck Institute Clinical Coordinator, Norman Cotterell

I will remember Naomi talking about her beloved, Milton, her daughters and grandsons, golf, and even Tiger Woods! I can't help but smile and think about her pulling us into her office at the end of a long day to witness a gorgeous sunset.”

Beck Institute Director of Training for Organizations, Bonnie Nicolari

From the bottom of our hearts, we thank Naomi for her leadership and vision. She will forever be a part of the Beck Institute family.